living in the console.

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Thu May 25 23:18:47 UTC 2017

Tim here

Mark Peveto wrote
> Over the last couple days or so, I've considered becoming a totally
> command line linux user.

I'm mostly there.  Web browsing is the big hurdle for much of my
day-to-day use.  Lynx/links/elinks work for many things, but some
sites just need a fully modern-standards-supporting browser.

> How would I print to my printer for example,

It depends on what you want to print, but it usually involves piping
things to the "lp" ("line printer") program.  It can be configured to
use CUPS on the back end (and may already be configured out of the
box for you).

Getting fancier output would involve rendering some sort of markup.
There are tools to render HTML, LaTeX, PDFs, and even Word/LibreOffice
docs from the command-line to the printer.

I don't know what you want to print, but I suspect it can be done in
most cases.

> play an entire album from my music collection.

It depends on your tastes, but there are literally dozens of music
players.  Some, such as mpg123/mpg312/aplay/ogg123 allow you to
specify just the files you want on the command line and it will play
them.  Others, like mplayer are similar but give you a little more
control over playback.

There's also mpd/mpc which is the Music Player Daemon/Client that
runs in the background and doesn't really have a GUI.  The mpd
program runs in the background and the mpc program acts like a
remote-control, letting you create/edit playlists, control playback,
etc.  I like the remote-control aspect as I can map them to
particular keys on my keyboard or aliases in the shell and have quick
access to common commands with my media-keys.

Personally, I use "cmus" which has a text-mode GUI but also has a
remote-control interface like mpd/mpc.  I start up tmux and have a
pane for my alsamixer and cmus which lets me flip between them pretty
readily. It allows me to make play-lists, search my collection,
shuffle, etc, much like you'd be familiar with in a graphical player.

> How, also, would I create documents in something beyond text
> format?

usually it's done with a markup that suits your tastes.  I personally
have been writing HTML by hand since college in the mid 90s so that's
what I reach for.  But other people like TeX/LaTeX (it does produce
some beautiful output and also has external library support for things
like music markup letting you write scores) while other people like
some of the more light-weight markup languages like Markdown or RST
or the like.

I'd kick the tires on a few and see what feels natural to you.
Fortunately, there's a tool called "pandoc" that lets you convert
between a large number of input/output formats so you can write in
Markdown and convert to PDF, or write in HTML and convert to MS-Word
format, or write in LaTeX and convert to ePub with minimal loss.  And
it outputs any of them in plain-text (though you may lose some
information in the process since plain-text doesn't support many
features as you've acknowledged)

> How does one ditch the guy, and still enjoy all linux has to offer
> in the console?

One program at a time (grins).  So much like each of the items above,
it's a matter of asking "I currently do XYZ in the GUI but would like
to do XYZ in the console" for whatever XYZ is your next adventure.

I maintain a page listing a number of common command-line tools:

that can point you in the direction of various applications to try
out.  Some might drive you crazy while others might fit your brain
just right.  They should all be free and are likely in most software
repos, so it doesn't cost you anything except a little time to try
each one out.

> I'm willing to learn how to do this, but who ever decides to help
> me is gonna hafta be patient.  

The folks on this list are a pretty friendly & patient bunch, so
we'll be glad to help where we can.


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